Saturday, August 28, 2010

HC: Cannot ask jobless man to pay maintenance to wife

'Cannot ask jobless man to pay maintenance to wife'

Staff Reporter

Saturday, Aug 28, 2010

NEW DELHI: Ruling that an unemployed husband cannot be asked to pay maintenance to his wife, the Delhi High Court on Friday set aside orders of a Metropolitan Magistrate and then by an Additional Sessions Judge asking a jobless man to pay maintenance of Rs.5,000 per month to his estranged wife.

The Magistrate had allowed the wife's plea for maintenance which was later upheld by the Sessions Judge. The High Court order came on a petition by the husband, Sanjay Bhardwaj, challenging the two orders.

The couple had got married in 2007 and, according to the husband, the marriage lasted only three weeks as he sought divorce accusing the wife and her family of hiding from him the fact that she was suffering from a chronic disease.

When Bhardwaj filed the divorce petition, the wife lodged an FIR against him under the Domestic Violence Act and Section 498A (subjecting a woman to cruelty for dowry) of the Indian Penal Code.

Setting aside the two orders, Justice S. N. Dhingra said that while passing the orders for maintenance the presiding judicial officers did not take into account the fact that Bhardwaj was without a job.

Justice Dhingra further noted that both the husband and the wife were equally qualified and had the potential to earn. The wife worked in a multi-national company before her marriage.

Observing that no court can tell a man to beg, borrow or steal to pay maintenance to his wife in case of estrangement, Justice Dhingra said: "No law provides that a husband has to maintain his wife, living separately from him, irrespective of the fact whether he earns or not."

Courtesy_

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